The original hi-tech Hurley-Pugh Bessemer Converter on "full blow" (far left), still at the cutting edge of a legend that could teach those slanty chaps a thing or two - and soon to be lit up again turning pig iron into passion. Alf Mengele (near left), Chief Thrunging Hand at the Old Factory, is to head up the Styling, Marketing, Rigorous Debt Collection and Public Relations Department at the revived Hurley-Pugh-Escobar plant in New Scunthorpe.
An unidentified multinational company, masked by an anonymous offshore conglomerate based in the roistering, licentious, 'kipper-trafficking' resort of Peel on the wind-kissed west coast of the Isle of Man's money-laundering and tax-efficiency haven, has been filing returns for Hurley-Pugh-Escobar (International) GmbH (Cayman Islands, Aleutians-Novodny, East Timor 1952 & 1987 Ltd) at Gibraltar House. But have no fear, Members of the H-PEC, suspicious of this successor to the Graet Marque, have assiduously been pursuing the tortuous paper trail with the assistance of Fellow Brethren in appropriate career paths. Furthermore, they have enjoyed some success in tracing an intensely complex financial network, and Members will be relieved to know that we have established that this otherwise opaque edifice appears to be a legitimate creation of Good Old Sir John Hurley, and that he sold out his controlling interest immediately before his ecstatic death in Tangiers.
A recent leak from an apparently reliable source reveals startling plans for a triumphant millennial re-entry into the flagging international motor bicycle market. Details of the new machine are as shrouded in mystery as the new UK manufacturer (although our source has hinted at equity input from Peter Rachman Residentials of Notting Hill Inc.).
It is claimed that the engine will be a unique, liquid-nitrogen cooled, modular nine-cylinder; effectively four and a half vee-twins, two inverted, powering a central triple crank, with ceramic-shielded magnesium pistons, and barrels and heads made from fused silica, capable of up to 72,000 rpm. The ceramics theme continues with Royal Spode Limited Edition engine covers and Pilkington Glass pushrod and valve covers, although the traditions of the Graet Marque are preserved with the courageous use of plain cast-iron main bearings and a reliable two-speed Ralph Venables gearbox. Further modules can increase the engine size indefinitely - imagine the power from a 9x9, 81-cylinder road-burning behemoth!
But the motor is not the only engineering first. Oh no! The new Hurley-Pugh (no model name as yet, although the words "Lancelot" and "Bob McMillan" have been breathed) is to have an inert hydrogen-filled magnesium/uranium 235 beam frame with self-stabilising, cantilevered engine mounting and the as-yet-secret Steer-Force System - the world's first "fly-by-wire" motor bicycle directional aid, using "virtual reality" style force feedback on the fixed steering column, transmitting rider input digitally to two, or possibly three, independently steered wheels (each of spun-alloy and bone china). This means that not only can both steer in an opposite direction for the fastest cornering imaginable, but can also in the same direction, for the kind of lane-changing poorly-designed foreign motorcycles of a "modern" ilk can only dream of.
The Engine Control Unit will, we understand, be a modestly appointed Cray unit, encased in an armoured steel module and cooled on the same liquid nitrogen circuit as the engine. Safety has apparently not been neglected. The rider will be safely cocooned in a sturdy rhododendron safety frame and all-in-one inflatable airbag, guaranteeing protection from any and all potential impacts on the dangerous roads of the late Twentieth Century, crowded as they are with cheap, tinny, inferior foreign vehicles (and, not unimportantly, offering the rider the security of knowing that, with the flick of a switch, it can be turned into a Faraday Cage, thus rendering him indifferent both to the electromagnetic pulses generated by nuclear weapons and electronic attack on the Cray ECU).
Whither now the pasta-suckers of Bologna? What word from the inscrutable Sushi-philes of Japan? This tantalising glimpse of the future, albeit uncorroborated, is surely enough to breathe fire into the weakest loins. Let us hope that we shall ride out into the year 2000 on machines fettled for the Twenty-First Century and fit to establish, once and for all, the effortless superiority of Good Old Intolerant British Spunk.
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